I hope you enjoyed your Easter break. We thought a four day break from the usual routine was a great opportunity to get rid of the clutter hanging around the house. Some friends joined us in The Biggest Tosser 4 Day Challenge and we celebrated doing a group toss. While we were busy executing our challenge, Leanne from Women In Overwhelm sent us this blog post. Leanne clearly knows the benefits of de-cluttering. Thanks Leanne. Enjoy everyone!

How getting rid of stuff can reduce your overwhelm

Ever have one of those days where you feel like your house walls are closing in on you? Everywhere you look there is ‘stuff’ just wanting to have a place of its own to call home. You try to tidy up and you do one room, only to turnaround 5 minutes later to see it messy again. Or maybe you just turn a blind eye to all of the mess around you because you don’t have time to do anything about it.

Everyone that knows me will tell you my house is in order most of the time. Little do they know the struggles I have had with my saucepan cupboard in the kitchen or my third kitchen draw that ends up with all the funny stuff in it – you know the one :). Not to mention the linen cupboard when the towels and table cloths that all came from there at one point don’t seem to fit back in!

My dirty little secret is that I have literally stuffed things in cupboards and jammed them shut before people are coming over so the house appeared to be like a museum. Thank goodness no one was opening any cupboard doors!

Stuff can be all consuming and can actually put you into a more overwhelmed state than what you’re potentially already in.

During the early years of my marriage, I spent countless hours helping my husband looks for his keys, wallet and mobile phone as he could not remember where he last put them. After doing this for far too long I introduced him to ‘my’ system. Every time he came home, there was a specific place for his keys, wallet and mobile phone to be placed and wallah…there they were when he next needed them. I truly believe this made a significant impact to my sanity.

Even though you may feel you don’t have the time, I cannot express to you how time saving it is long term to de-clutter and put in place a system that the entire family can buy into. Set yourself a day where you commit to de-cluttering. I only need to watch those TV shows like Hoarders or Clean House and I go into a mad chucking frenzy! They are truly motivating for me.

If you don’t feel strong enough yourself or have no idea where to start, recruit a friend that will keep you on track or join a program like Milking it at Did You Remember The Milk? Another option is to hire a professional organiser.

If you’re willing to jump in and get your hands dirty, my basic tip to you to get you started is to create piles – Keep, Throw, Donate, Fix, Sell. My basic rule of thumb is to throw anything away that you haven’t looked at or used for a year – especially clothes. Don’t keep your smallest sized jeans because one day you’re going to fit back into them.

There is a Chinese Proverb that says “a cluttered space equals a cluttered mind”. Free yourself of the clutter and free your mind for more important things. Set a strong foundation and your ‘stuff’ will no longer overwhelm you.

Leanne Imbro is the Founder of Woman in Overwhelm, an online support network for working mothers to have it all (www.WomanInOverwhelm.com.au) and LSI Administrative Services, not to mention mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, canteen helper, cleaner, cook, ironing lady and taxi service for the household.